Posted August 6, 2013 10:39 am by with 1 comment

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Content marketing is everything these days. Everything that a marketer does is about content. Develop content for thought leadership. Develop content for various channels to reach everyone where they are. It makes sense.

Of course, developing that content isn’t just an exercise to keep people working. It’s about getting people to buy products and services.

According to a study reported by eMarketer that was performed by IMN (a conference organizer), that fact has become much more apparent in recent months. When marketers were polled regarding the primary goals of content marketing they really showed there is pressure to generate leads in today’s marketplace. Take a look for yourself.

Primary Goal of Content Marketing

OK, if you are a content marketer you better generate leads, huh? But what is most interesting about this though is that even though there was a relatively low percentage of respondents in 2012 saying that revenue generation was their primary goal (9%) there isn’t even any mention of it in this year’s numbers.

So are leads just an ends unto themselves? This kind of reeks of the quantity over quality mentality that so many fall victim too not just in marketing but life in general. As someone with a sales background, I can tell you that the LAST thing I want is a pile of unqualified or just plain bad leads. If there is not a desire to generate leads that lead (get it?) to revenue then the boat is being missed completely. Leads for leads sake are a hollow victory. I can’t tell you how many times I have filled out a form as the managing editor of Marketing Pilgrim to get a piece of research then I get hounded by some poor sales guy or gal who thinks I want their product. I never did and never will but I want their information. Unfortunately, that’s not good marketing, that’s just marketing. There’s a big difference.

Personally, I don’t think revenue should ever be the sole determinant of success. There are other elements of getting a message out that are important in business. But to see no one calling it a primary result means that marketers are pushing for soft measurement much like the ‘eyeballs’ mentality of TV in the old days.

This is a mistake that companies are going to make as they find out just how difficult it is to get strong leads and prospects in the door via content marketing. When it is discovered just how difficult it is there will be a rush to find other measurements that make people feel better about their efforts. Unfortunately, feeling good has never been able to keep the lights on in a business.

Where do you think revenue generated comes into the measurement scheme of any content marketing effort? Sure, it’s hard to truly attribute revenue directly to a piece of content but tracking a lead from a form filled out to get a white paper to the time it turns into a customer should be a paramount consideration of any business person, don’t you think?

Let’s hear your take in the comments.

  • Great post. I would challenge you a little by saying that my philosophy has always been that content marketing should exist to solve problems. Leads/revenue are just a happy result. 🙂